Top countries to work in


According to statistics compiled by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), Germans work just 27.8 hours per week, one of the lowest standards among countries studied in the OECD. Although you might think fewer hours worked should mean a lower standard of living, Germany defies the odds. Not only do Germans maintain a high standard of living, but Germany also maintains one of the strongest economies in Europe. Thus, those extra hours each week translate directly into providing a healthier work/life balance.


Sweden is widely acknowledged as offering the most generous parental leave benefits in the world. As many as 480 days, or 16 months, of paid parental leave is offered to workers, 60 days of which are reserved for the father. Furthermore, those 480 days can be spent however the parents see fit over the first eight years of their child’s life. Sweden also offers a generous 36 days of paid vacation every year, and ranks firmly in the top 10 countries in the OECD with the best work/life balance.

The Netherlands

No employees are on the job less per year than those in the Netherlands, according to the OECD. Workers clock only 1,378 hours per year, or 27.6 hours per week. Like Germany, however, the Netherlands maintains a healthy GDP and high standard of living in spite of fewer hours on the job. On top of that, they are given 28 paid vacation days per year, and 16 weeks of paid maternity leave at 100 percent of their salaries. As if that weren’t enough, Dutch workers are also offered tax breaks on an additional 26 weeks of unpaid maternity leave if required.


Norway is a world leader when it comes to offering substantial parental leave to workers. A parent is given as much as 47 weeks at 100 percent salary, or 57 weeks at 80 percent salary. Nine weeks are reserved for the mother, 12 weeks (the “daddy’s quota”) are reserved for the father, and the parents can share the rest. Norwegian workers are also given a healthy 35 days of paid vacation per year. Norway has one of the strongest GDPs in the world, so they must be doing something right!


Denmark was ranked No. 1 in the world for providing the best work/life balance by the OECD. It has a number of factors working for it: a full 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, 34 total days of paid vacation, and only .04 percent of workers are on the job more than 50 hours per week. Additionally, the OECD calculated that as many as 16.31 hours per day are dedicated to personal care among Danish workers.